Multiple Intelligences

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University. The theory suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

  • Linguistic intelligence(“word smart”)
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence(“number/reasoning smart”)
  • Spatial intelligence(“picture smart”)
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence(“body smart”)
  • Musical intelligence(“music smart”)
  • Interpersonal intelligence(“people smart”)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence(“self smart”)
  • Naturalist intelligence(“nature smart”)


One of the most remarkable features of the theory of multiple intelligences is how it provides eight different potential pathways to learning. If a teacher is having difficulty reaching a student in the more traditional linguistic or logical ways of instruction, the theory of multiple intelligences suggests several other ways in which the material might be presented to facilitate effective learning. Whether you are a kindergarten teacher, a graduate school instructor, or an adult learner seeking better ways of pursuing self-study on any subject of interest, the same basic guidelines apply. Whatever you are teaching or learning, see how you might connect it with the intelligences.